Shakespeare and Hamlet
William Shakespeare's Life and Times
- Born on April 1526 in Stratford-upon-Avon in the United Kingdom
- Third child of his parents, John Shakespeare, a leather merchant, and Mary Arden, a local landed heiress
- No specific recording relating to William Shakespeare’s education. Based on the information available, people made assumption about his attendance of school—Grammar school.
- Started his career as an actor on stage by 1592. It is assumed that he played few smaller roles of his own plays.
- Started writing around 1590. He produced most of his work between 1589 and 1613.
- Died on April 23rd, 1616 in Stratford-upon-Avon. The cause of his death is unknown.
- His burial was registered on April 25th, 1616. His tomb lies beneath the floor of the Holy Trinity Church.
- Most of Shakespeare’s plays were published in 1623, seven years after his death.
Some Fun Facts About William Shakespeare That Few People Know
- Shakespeare’s original grave marker showed him holding a bag of grain. Citizens of Stratford replaced the bag with a quill in 1747.
- Some of Shakespeare’s signatures have survived on original documents. In none of them does he spell his name in what has become the standard way. He spells it Shakespe; Shakspe; Shakspere and Shakespear.
- Shakespeare is the second most quoted writer in the English language – after the various writers of the Bible.
Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
- Shakespeare's work summarize the range of human emotions in simple yet profoundly eloquent sentence, provide illumination of human nature.
- His works transcend time and culture. People still find his stories adapt to modern society.
- The major controversy regarding William Shakespeare’s plays is about the authorship.
- The English Renaissance dated from 1500 to 1688.
- Shakespeare's works contain core value of the Renaissance period commerce, interest in the Classical world, and the belief in the potential of human achievement.
- Shakespeare's works focused on creating human characters with psychologically complexity.
- His works contained a lot of knowledge of Greek and Roman classics in his plays.
- Tips of how to read Shakespeare:
- Read a great plot synopsis.
- Find an annotated copy of the work and read.
- Get comfortable and read once through the play.
- Rent, buy, or borrow from your local library the BBC production of the play.
- Read the play again.
- The audiences of Shakespeare were from all levels of society.
Video SparkNotes: Shakespeare's Hamlet Summary
Main Themes of Hamlet
- The Impossibility of Certainty
- The Mystery of the Death
- The Nation As a Diseased Body
Details in Hamlet
Elsinore (where the story of Hamlet happens) is a medieval town, located on Zealand Island, right at the narrowest point of Øresund (The Sound), which is the strait between Denmark and Sweden.
Hamlet is considered as a revenge tragedy. Revenge Tragedy is a kind of drama in which dominant motive is revenge for a real or imagined injury. This style of tragedy was popular in England during the late 16th and 17th century.
- Hamlet the ghost—former King of Denmark, Princeton Hamlet’s father, Gertrude’s former husband, Claudius’s brother
- Hamlet the prince—Princeton of Denmark, son of Queen Gertrude and former King Hamlet, nephew of current King Claudius
- Claudius—the King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle, Old Hamlet’s brother, Gertrude’s current husband
- Gertrude—the Queen of Denmark, wife of old Hamlet and current King Claudius
- Ophelia—daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, beautiful young woman whom Hamlet love.
- Horatio—Hamlet’s close friend
- Polonius—The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, father of Ophelia and Laertes
- Laertes—son of Polonius, brother of Ophelia
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-- 2 courtiers, former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg, summoned by Claudius and Gertrude to discover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior.